In case you were wondering, I did include the fifth book in the donation to Dining by Design.  When it came right down to it, even Hadley, Brown and Radizwell were not satisfying enough to override the deep-rooted guilt of my childhood.

And, as often happens, I was rewarded for doing the right thing.  Patricia van Essche, a now long-time on-line friend forwarded a little treat of her own.  House and Garden’s Complete Book of Decoration, originally published in 1937, this issue is from 1960.

It arrived on Saturday and I flipped through it quickly before dashing out the door to set up for the auction.  Oh, the sacrifices one makes!  How I longed to sit and pour over each and every page.  But duty called.

The auction went beautifully.  This won’t be surprising, but it wasn’t the folks who “bid early and bid big” who meant the most (though I am so grateful and awed that they did) but my best friends who came early and stayed late.  Supporters in an entirely different way.  Mr. Blandings and my co-chair’s husband surprised us with chilled champagne.  As we sat on the steps and celebrated amid the banging of the table take down, we wondered who was happier the co-chairs or the spouses.

The chaos temporarily stored in the back of our cars, we headed home exhilarated and exhausted.  As I wandered through the living room to the office to check my email, a manic habit that I have formed over the last six months, look what caught my eye.  Mr. Blandings, who should have been receiving gifts from me to compensate for the neglect and distraction, left me a little love token on the mantle.  Heaven help me to deserve him.

Weary and bleary-eyed the next morning I opened my other present.  van Essche’s gift does not disappoint and even Mr. Blandings peered across the breakfast table at the kitchen section.

But wait, what’s this?  Sleek and stainless, a double Thermador oven 

just like my own.

A point of contention through the kitchens-in-the-air that we are always building,  Mr. Blandings claims she will give out eventually and we will be stuck with custom cabinets built for her that will be useless once she goes to appliance heaven.  But I adore her.  And even though he once claimed her “inaccurate,” a thermometer has proven her to be within three degrees.   The thing is, I like things things and people who stick, even when something newer and shinier comes along.
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13 thoughts on “Presents

  1. “The thing is, I like things and people who stick, even when something newer and shinier comes along.”

    once again, i am in awe of you, mrs. blandings- reading one of your post’s is like a eating a home-baked chocolate chip cookie straight from the oven: delicious, warm and comforting.

    i think there needs to be a book, like, “mrs. blandings for the soul”…

  2. My youngest child loves to ask, “Mama, was that before I was even a twinkle?” Well we all know the answer to that. I reply, why yes, long before I even knew that you were a twinkle!
    That book may have been published, long before you were a twinkle, but those ovens, that book, the stars surely must have been aligned over you. As I said, I did memorize every page prior to send-off but I just knew somehow it would be the “twinkle” of your eye.
    Good timing on my part. Timing is everything.

  3. Mrs. Blandings – love your blog! Thank you for letting us in your life. So, I have a really detailed, silly question. Where might I find a file tote such as yours? Love the brown. Please reveal. And, BTW, keep Mr. B.!

  4. Anon – Target, of course. It was just what I needed. I had every intention of lining it with Hicks, but just ran out of time. Good luck!

  5. I wanted so much to attend the event, however had another committment. As I check email every morning, this morning I hoped you had written about the event and of course was thrilled! More details to come?

  6. Mrs. Blandings, I love love love your blog. My mother and I watched Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House over and over again when I was a child. I have always loved it. I adore the scene when Myrna Loy is describing her paint colors using a tiny piece of thread and a pound of butter. Amazing how vivid and beautiful those colors are – especially in a black and white film. When I saw the photo of your oven, it made me smile. I was meant to live in another time – and I get the sense that you may feel the same way. You are a classy lady, and I love seeing your blog every day in my inbox. Cheers!

  7. Great job Mrs. B!!! I know you are glad it’s over and …of course you did the right thing. That’s why we love you!!!

  8. Congratulations Mrs. B! And I thought the choice of La Veuve very fitting end to the manic-ness. Kudos to Mr. B & co. for thoughtfulness

    And I agree with m21. A slim volume would be most welcome reading during the darker moments. Please consider it (and don’t forget Mrs. PvE when the publisher starts talking about illustrations! What a team…)

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